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Josh Knutson

Josh Knutson Marketing Manager | AutoMotion Dealer App

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Will Millennials Trade-In Their Cars As Fast As Their Phones?

"Did you see Megan's new car? "Cant wait for this summer!  #Spain2014."

"I just got the new iPhone my life is now complete."

The millennial generation is obsessed with creating the life we want others to believe we live, from checking-in at fancy restaurants on Foursquare, to Instagramming the hell out of your recent trip to Vegas, we want not only to be accepted by our peers but also to impress them.

Phones have often been the standard for how up-to-date or “cool” we are ...but are cars the new standard of influence?

New Release, More Competition:

Its my big break! Many millennials feel like they're on cloud 9 after the receive their first “real” job out of college. No longer are we making $8 an hour working at the local coffee shop, or working with our college buddies we partied with till 4 AM.

We are now working with established professionals  and they have two things we don't:

  • More knowledge
  • More buying power


This creates pressure for millennials to distinguish themselves while still keeping up with their peers and colleagues.

Getting a new vehicle is many millennials release from college and first step into starting their career in the “real world.” But society's need to be on top creates more and more competition, and it seems things like engagements, buying houses and having babies has now turned into a competition among friends. Boasting and bragging has become the norm and “look at my new car” is one of the loudest forms of social promotion one can exhibit.


Not New, Not Cool:

Cars and tech devices are some of the most progressive industries in our world and the speed at which new technologies come out makes it almost impossible to constantly stay up to date.

This constant progression creates the desire to compete.

Who has the latest phone or tablet has been the distinguishing "cool" standard in recent years but the trend will soon turn to vehicles.

Millennials want to be trendy and automakers have taken notice, offering everything from:

  • Insane lease offers
  • Extremely millennial targeted vehicles
  • Mobile connectivity standard


All aimed at fulfilling the millennials need for the latest "it" thing.  Automakers are also very aware that if they capture a millenial in their younger years they many times have them for life. Cars including the Mercedes CLA, Audi Q3, and Chevy Spark are all specifically targeted in this mannor with the goal of capturing the millennial. Millennials lives are extremely "online social" and this makes us want to feel connected with our friends even more. This need to feel socially up to date also benefits automakers,  as they are getting free advertising from all ends of the social sphere.


Strong Voice, Expect Results:

Honda is a great example of adapting to the millennial voice. Honda completely redesigned its 2012 Civic for 2013 significantly due to peoples reactions. While the 2012 Civic still sold like crazy, doing a complete overhaul of a brand new model in just a year is unheard of.














This poses the question :

How quickly will automakers have to move to stay fresh with this generation?

New is attractive and creates excitement among millennials, and excitement creates massive social sharing which leads to lots of business to who ever holds the latest “it” trend.

First there was Twitter, then Instagram, now SnapChat.

Technology’s shelf life is expiring quicker and quicker and cars will be no different.

Expect automakers to put more and more effort into this generation.  You know that new phone every 2-years contract most of us have, that structure may soon transfer over to vehicles. Millennials' desire to constantly be up to date and one-up their peers will cause programs like this to pop up everywhere.  Automakers will thus have to keep their products fresher than ever, just like all that produce your neighborhood hipster is buying at the local co-op.


Here to stay and excited for the future:

Society and technology are now not only married but conjoined at the hip (literally tell me when your phone is not in your pocket) and are constantly being prodded by the Red Bull drinking “thats so 5 minutes ago” millennial generation. Automakers will continue to find ways to feed the technology crazed millennials constant desire for new.


The automobile has always been one of the loudest forms of expression, and the highly competitive, supreme social sharing millennial generation is turning the volume way up. #GetReady

- Josh Knutson

Civic Image:

Matt Hatchell
I think the practice of "new now" is very much here to stay, especially with millennials. I wonder if it will truly translate to auto purchases due to the price tag. $20K isn't $200 for a phone. However, I hope you're correct. How long before the OEMs push out new and cool stuff (which I'm all for) on more than a 4-5 year timeframe? If they do rush production to capture a trend that might only be a 6 month window, will that cause quality to go down? Either way, good post.

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